Have You Ever Tried Motorcycle Gaskets Made Of Molded Rubber Over Steel?

JamesGaskets1Gaskets are not not the sexiest parts of your motorcycle and not the easiest for me to talk about to interest all of you. But those who are professionals or tinker in their garage know that all gaskets are  not born equal. Which makes the difference between no-trouble leak proof components from first installation to years of service and the frustrating task of fixing repetitive leaks … and cleaning your shop or garage floor.

During a professional trip abroad, Tamara Smith, General Manager of James Gaskets, since 1977 the industry leader with the most extended line of Harley-Davidson aftermarket gaskets and seals, was somewhat lamenting that too many ignore the importance of quality gaskets and don’t know much about the vast improvements that gaskets went through over the years.

Gaskets2gaskets3For example, a critical development in gaskets development was in 2006 when James Gaskets introduced a wide range of gaskets made of molded rubber bonded over steel.  This material has a solid steel core that is fully encapsulated with a thin layer of high-temperature NBR rubber. In many applications this material not only makes sense but solves a problem that no other material can. And most in the industry still don’t know about it…Although James Gaskets, nor me, will qualify these type of rubber over steel gaskets as re-usable, those in the know seem to be able to do it with success… Just take this observation as a proof of quality. Nothing more.

To my knowledge, James Gaskets is the only manufacturer offering this type of product or anything even similar. The James rubber over steel gaskets are high torque resistant and are available for inspection covers, derby covers, some transmission seals, etc and for those working on/owning a prone to leak Panhead, a set of Rocker Cover seals to provide the conformability needed to seal all types of covers, either stamped steel, chrome plated or cast. In the past year alone James Gaskets has released dozens of new parts and kits, all of them in their new catalog. Any concern or question, contact James Gaskets at tami@jamesgaskets.com or 775-246-2220 / 775-230-9001

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10 Responses to “Have You Ever Tried Motorcycle Gaskets Made Of Molded Rubber Over Steel?”


  1. 1 Brutus Sep 17th, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Never thought that gasket brands were very important…until now.

  2. 2 Kirk Perry Sep 17th, 2013 at 10:23 am

    ” In the past year alone James Gaskets has released dozens of new parts and kits”
    ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
    What happened with the plans to make the steel/rubber Pan cover gasket with a labyrinth split on both sides, so the gasket can be placed on the head without having to remove the cylinder heads?
    “James” was working on it last year….. then nothing. 🙁

  3. 3 Kirk Perry Sep 17th, 2013 at 11:15 am

    The labyrinth joint on each gasket would be at the top, before that sharp bend is made. Just as you see it now (nearest the package’s white label).. The joint is exactly like you would see in a cardboard puzzle. One section of the gasket forms a tab, the opposite side of the gasket is the matching receiver section. Before the ends are snapped into place, RTV sealant (the no stringing, or glob-release type) is carefully applied to each section of the “puzzle pieces” and then the ends are snapped into place.
    The gasket will hold back up to 65 psi of pressure. An S&S pump puts out 45 psi at start-up, running H-D (straight) grade-60.

    So what happened with that idea? “James” told me that my “julienne” slice on a cork gasket would “balloon” with air pressure. Not so. I have two “julienne sliced” cork gaskets on my Pan now. Zero leaks.

    The metal/rubber laminate gasket needs two “puzzle-piece” joints, because the rear section of the gasket can’t be wound around the back of the rear head.
    The pan covers are “levitated” by wires during this operation, with at least 1″ of clearance minimum around the perimeter.
    You gotta try. Send me a set and I will.

  4. 4 James just another crazy Kiwi Sep 17th, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    I thought that James Gaskets actually used to make Gaskets for the factory or it may be that HD workshops that I dealt with just always used ”James Gaskets”. ?

  5. 5 Mack Sep 17th, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Won’t use nothin else

  6. 6 ROGUE Sep 18th, 2013 at 6:50 am

    I have been using them for a Very Long Time and am very pleased with them.

    When I worked for American Quantum we were having a gasket issue on the 4 valve engine and contacted James Gaskets, they made gaskets for us that solved the problem.

    This is typical of the issues that they have solved with their line of products.

  7. 7 Mike Tomas, Kiwi Indian Sep 18th, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    James makes the best gaskets, period. Top notch company who solved all our vintage Indian engine leaking issues. Love them.

  8. 8 Jezza Sep 18th, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    I won’t use anything else now. Had no end of problems with other gaskets, even those supplied by reputable big name companies. Tried James and never had a leak since. Great products that do exactly what they’re supposed to.

  9. 9 Doc Robinson Sep 19th, 2013 at 2:53 am

    Great gaskets, best I’ve ever seen and my visit to their factory a year back impressed me both with their manufacturing and their quality control. James rocks!

  10. 10 Kirk Perry Sep 19th, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    They’ve sent Stett two sets to work on. One set for each half of a set, meaning if we cut up the top section of one set, we lose material from the cut (kerf). The second set of gaskets, he’ll use and make-up the lost material with the longer bottom section of gasket saved.

    I’m thinking dovetail-cuts, where internal pressure trying to escape the confines of the motor, will push on the dovetail joint to improve the seal (with the aid of “friendly” RTV).

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